UK Makes Omicron Contingency Plans For Hospitals, Schools

Ghadeer Mahar grimaces as she is given a vaccination at a COVID-19 booster vaccination centre at Hampden Park vaccination centre in Glasgow, Scotland, Wednesday Dec. 29, 2021. (Andrew Milligan/PA via AP)

(AP) — The U.K. government has been making contingency plans in case hospitals, schools and other workplaces are hit by major staff shortages amid the latest record spike in coronavirus infections.

Public sector workplaces have been preparing for absences ranging from 10% to 25% as COVID-19 sickens more people or forces them to isolate. The highly transmissible omicron variant has caused Britain’s coronavirus caseload to soar over Christmas and New Year, reaching a new daily high of 189,000 on Dec. 31.

Cabinet Office Minister Stephen Barclay said there had already been “significant” absences and the government was preparing for “every eventuality.” He cited increased testing in schools and warehouses and better ventilation as one way to prevent disruptions.


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